Happy Caldwell

Albert W. "Happy" Caldwell (sometimes incorrectly spelled Cauldwell) (July 25, 1903 in Chicago – December 29, 1978 in New York City) was an American jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist.

Caldwell began on clarinet at age 16, playing in the Eighth Illinois Regimental Band and soon after in an Army band. He studied to be a pharmacist but eventually gave up his medicinal studies for jazz.

He worked with Bernie Young early in the 1920s in Chicago, where he recorded for the first time in 1923. Around this time he also began doubling on tenor saxophone. In the middle of the 1920s he played with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds, Bobby Brown's Syncopaters, Elmer Snowden, Billy Fowler, Thomas Morris, Willie Gant, and Cliff Jackson. In 1929 he recorded with Louis Armstrong.

In the 1930s Caldwell played with Vernon Andrade, Tiny Bradshaw, and Louis Metcalfe, and led his own band, the Happy Pals, in the middle of the decade. He played at Minton's in New York City for a short time, then moved to Philadelphia, where he played with Eugene Slappy and Charlie Gaines. He returned to New York and put together a new ensemble in the 1940s, continuing to work in small settings for several decades. In the 1970s he played with Jimmy Rushing, including on international tours.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 25th, 1903 (Chicago), Died New York City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1926 - 1939

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor saxophone, clarinet

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-35762 10-in. 7/13/1926 Lazy drag Thomas Morris ; Morris' Hot Babies Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone, clarinet  
Victor BVE-35763 10-in. 7/13/1926 Jackass blues Thomas Morris ; Morris' Hot Babies Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone, clarinet  
Victor BVE-35764 10-in. 7/13/1926 Charleston stampede Thomas Morris ; Morris' Hot Babies Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone, clarinet  
Victor BVE-36047 10-in. 8/17/1926 Georgia grind Thomas Morris ; Morris' Hot Babies Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, tenor saxophone, clarinet  
Victor BVE-36048 10-in. 8/17/1926 Ham gravy Thomas Morris ; Morris' Hot Babies Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone, clarinet  
Victor BVE-48345 10-in. 2/8/1929 I'm gonna stomp Mr. Henry Lee Eddie's Hot Shots Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Victor BVE-48346 10-in. 2/8/1929 That's a serious thing Eddie's Hot Shots Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Victor BS-010571 10-in. 6/14/1937 Hot Club stomp Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Victor BS-010572 10-in. 6/14/1937 The swing session's called to order Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Victor BS-041361 10-in. 9/28/1939 Don't you leave me here Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Victor BS-041363 10-in. 9/28/1939 Ballin' the jack Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
OKeh W401689 10-in. 3/5/1929 Knockin' a jug Louis Armstrong Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38693 10-in. 9/19/1934 Shout, sister, shout Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38694 10-in. 9/19/1934 Mister, will you serenade? Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38695 10-in. 9/19/1934 The Darktown Strutters' Ball Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38696 10-in. 9/19/1934 The Sheik of Araby Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38785 10-in. 10/3/1934 Ol' man river Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38786 10-in. 10/3/1934 I ain't got nobody Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38787 10-in. 10/3/1934 I'm a ding dong Daddy Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  
Decca 38788 10-in. 10/3/1934 She'll be coming round the mountain Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Caldwell, Happy," accessed October 22, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107794.

Caldwell, Happy. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107794.

"Caldwell, Happy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 22 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107794

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